Learn to Lead is a Community Interest Company with a board of directors that includes young people who have experienced Learn to Lead  and contributed to its development alongside older members and supporters of our team.


Cerise Abel-Thompson

“I have been a part of Learn to lead’s journey since its inception at the Blue School where I experienced first-hand the transformative nature of Learn to lead on myself and on the community. While finishing my MA in Contemporary Literature I was a director of Learn to lead and worked with a number of children’s organisations that focus on creating and enhancing communities both in and out of the school system. My interest lies in community development as a means to creating empowering environments for everyone within them and furthering research that evidences the benefits of co-productive learning and participatory development. I am now a part of Learn to lead’s core team; working closely with a number of organisations and running trainings. The incredible work of our partners never fails to inspire me and I hope to maintain our links with them, as well as join with new organisations and continue our work across the U.K enabling communities to develop, with the participation of all those that use them.”


Maxwell Jeffery

“I first joined Learn to lead as a new secondary student when the organisation was in its infancy. Later becoming a director and now supporting the company’s activities more broadly, growing up with Ltol has been the pivotal experience that defined my ambitions and values as a person. It was through the experience of working in various project teams as a student that I began to pursue what would later become a career in social enterprise. I work to support various organisations, including a role at Stir to Action covering issues around co-ops, community and commons and supporting the set up and training of new enterprises. After 15 years of involvement, the communities and individuals Ltol works with still amaze me with their achievements. I look forward to extending this work in the future.”

Mimi Ray

“Learn to lead has been an essential part of my life ever since I joined the Blue school in Wells 10 years ago. It provided a means to collaborate and work with others in a team to have a direct, positive impact on our wider community. I later went on to become a director of the company, and had the opportunity to see Learn to lead work in many different schools and organisations across the country. I was also involved in developing marketing strategies for Ltol which I really enjoyed.
Currently I am studying Engineering at the University of Oxford, and I still apply the many valuable skills I have developed from my involvement with Ltol on a day to day basis. Studying in a primarily male-dominated field, I am passionate about opportunities for women in not only STEM subjects, but in the wider community and workplace as well. I truly believe that the strong set of transferable skills which students gain from being involved with Learn to lead will help them excel in their careers and future lives. This initiative has grown immensely in the last 15 years and I hope to see every school embrace Learn to lead in the future!”

Simon Bevan

Hi, I’m Simon and I’m currently reading Physics at Oxford – something that would’ve been impossible without Learn to Lead. Having seen the good Learn to Lead can achieve in schools and with young people in general, I am really excited to explore how we can continue to apply our ideas and models in yet more situations, such as universities, care homes, anywhere with a body of people passionate to take ownership of their environment. So many academic institutions run programs involving young people and outreach – I believe that these events, where they’re trying to engage young people, would be the prime location for our ideas and am excited to see how this progresses.


Annie Emery

“I went to Chew Valley, the second school to adopt Learn to lead when I was just in my first year there. Learn to lead had a huge impact on my experience of secondary school, making me so much more confident and creative. I have definitely taken the model with me wherever I go – to university and now into the working world. As a director I attend board meetings and now hope to get more hands-on, taking the model to more schools in the Bristol area and beyond. I am excited about the prospect of Learn to lead being adopted by a wider range of organisations in different sectors.”